Home Television Comedy Munsters, The

Munsters, The

1 9 6 4 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
70 x 30 minute episodes

Head of the Munster household, Herman (Fred Gwynne), was seven feet tall and bore a striking resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster. His wife Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo) and her father, Sam Dracula – known to all as Grandpa (Al Lewis) – were vampires.

Their youngest son Eddie (Butch Patrick) was a werewolf. Their attractive blonde live-in niece, Marilyn (Beverley Owen initially, and then Pat Priest) was the only normal one – and was considered ugly by the rest of the Munster family.

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Herman worked at the Gateman, Goodbury and Grave Funeral Home, while Lily was aged 137 with long black hair with a white streak and a penchant for Chanel No. 13.

Lily walked around the house in shrouds and a bat necklace while Grandpa was an experimental magician who conjured up potions in his cellar laboratory and then struggled to find an antidote.

Stories revolved around the family’s contact with the outside world and the misconception that they were normal and everyone else was strange.

Visitors to their rambling Gothic mansion at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Heights, were at first bemused and then terrified by its contents: heavy cobwebs, suits of armour, secret passages, an electric chair, a coffin telephone booth, and a black cat that roared like a lion.

The family cruised around town in a souped-up hearse. At night, Lily slept like a corpse with her arms crossed over her chest, clutching a flower to her bosom. Grandpa just longed for the Old Country (Transylvania).

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Early Munsters episodes were darker and scarier (for example, Grandpa keeps trying to bite people in the neck) but as the show progressed the comedic element came to the fore and the show became less scary.

A movie, Munster, Go Home, featuring the TV cast, was released in 1966 and the original cast returned in 1981 in a made-for-TV movie called The Munsters’ Revenge.

A 1988 ‘revival’ series called The Munsters Today introduced a new cast under the premise that the family reawaken at 1313 Mockingbird Lane after 20 years in suspended animation. Lee Meriwether played Lily Munster in the new series.

Other cast members included John A Shuck, Jason Marsden, Hilary Van Dyke and Howard Morton.

TRIVIA
The house used for the exterior shots on The Munsters was located on the back lot of Universal Studios and has been used in many movies, including Dragnet (1987); and The Burbs (1989).

munsters36Fred Gwynne would spend an hour and a half every day before shooting having his face painted green – despite the fact the show was filmed in black and white (except for the pilot which was filmed in colour).

Lily Munster’s first name was originally Phoebe in the pilot.

Pat Priest (who played the second Marilyn) had a famous mother. Ivy Baker Priest was Treasurer of the United States under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961 and California state Treasurer under Governor Ronald Reagan from 1967 until her death in 1975.

Herman Munster 
Fred Gwynne 
Lily Munster 

Yvonne DeCarlo 
Grandpa (Sam Dracula) 

Al Lewis 
Eddie Wolfgang Munster 

Butch Patrick 
Marilyn Munster 

Beverley Owen (1)
Pat Priest (2)